jack

DIY VAT reclaim granted in full - 5 years after moving in!

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Well that was an unexpected surprise.

 

We just had a signed-for delivery arrive. I wasn't expecting anything, and then had a slight panic attack when I saw it was from HMRC. Big bundle of docs, so assumed they were just returning the invoices, but turns out it came with a letter confirming they'll be paying in full within 20 days!

 

A few notes:

 

We moved in around Christmas 2015. It's taken us far longer than I'd ever thought possible to get things signed off, and I was convinced we'd be going to appeal as a result. We were upfront about the delay (i.e., we put in the correct moving-in date on the form), but did not give any explanations or excuses.

 

The application was filed at the end of October (about 2.5 months after issuance of the completion certificate), so it's taken almost 4 months to get the decision.

 

We had some oddities - a few invoices in the name of trades, an invoice in the name of someone completely random (something bought at a trade counter - our guess is that they made a mistake and used the last customer's account?), some cash receipts for cheaper items (each under £100, I believe), and one weird invoice for bathroom stuff that combined the amount owing and deposit paid in a difficult-to-fathom way. We put a brief explanation on each point in the covering letter. All invoices were accepted, which surprised me a bit.

 

We did have some decent expenses in the months leading up to the completion date, which may have helped paint a picture of the work being ongoing. There were, however, periods of a year or more where nothing happened, so certainly there's nothing to suggest that the work was continuous.

 

In any event, the money is nice, but not having the stress of a potential appeal and tribunal hearing is even better!

 

I do hope this is indicative of a change in practice at HMRC. I genuinely feel for the people who lost significant money as a result of HMRC's behaviour.

 

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Good news - it must feel good to get that out of the way!

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Well done.

 

Mine was posted 3 weeks ago,  I have tracking information to say the package arrived and was signed for but so far no communication.  When I can muster the enthusiasm to battle with their call system I will be phoning to see what is happening.

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Strange, I liked your post @jack at lunchtime and came home and I also had a package and VAT confirmation letter back from the HMRC

 

Just one rejection for my velux windows, was not itemised enough by the building merchant, I'm asking them to amend it so should get 100% recoverability on all my invoices.  

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12 hours ago, jack said:

 

I do hope this is indicative of a change in practice at HMRC. I genuinely feel for the people who lost significant money as a result of HMRC's behaviour.


That’s great news, and as they say ‘timing is everything’. Anyone submitting their claim now must hopefully feel much more positive in getting the right result. My claim was in Feb 2018 just before they started the rejection nonsense. Like you I feel for those people in between whose claims were unjustifiably IMO rejected. I wonder if those individuals are able to appeal? I know that they are out of time but if there is any justice they should be given special leave to appeal IMO. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Thedreamer said:

Strange, I liked your post @jack at lunchtime and came home and I also had a package and VAT confirmation letter back from the HMRC

 

Just one rejection for my velux windows, was not itemised enough by the building merchant, I'm asking them to amend it so should get 100% recoverability on all my invoices.  

 

That's great news!

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Can I ask . Do we think Hmrc are more vigilant the larger the overall vat claim ? . Does some poor sod really look through every receipt ?? . I’m upto around 600 at the moment 😂

Edited by pocster

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Great news @jack - I know this was a stressor for you.

 

We had a very similar experience but just the 3 years after moving in :) Also had a few ropey invoices that I was expecting to get flagged up.

 

I think it's dependent on who looks at your submission and how harried they are to get them processed, guess that after Covid there is more of a backlog so maybe they're just looking for basic compliance.

 

Did you get a letter shortly after submission to say you qualified per the main form and subject to processing? That was the big relief for me as it meant all the dates etc were acceptable.

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9 minutes ago, pocster said:

Can I ask . Do we think Hmrc are more vigilant the larger the overall vat claim ? . Does some poor sod really look through every receipt ?? . I’m upto around 600 at the moment 😂

 

I believe so, I expect that they are scanned in also. Plenty of people have reported the odd invoice out of 100s being rejected or challenged.

 

Get filing then now - took me a month of weekends to do mine when I finally opened the shoebox of doom :)

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

 

I believe so, I expect that they are scanned in also. Plenty of people have reported the odd invoice out of 100s being rejected or challenged.

 

Get filing then now - took me a month of weekends to do mine when I finally opened the shoebox of doom :)

 

 

Lol ! I’ve got them all on a spread sheet . Reckon I’m 3 years away from complete finish . So means total build only took 10 years 😂

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6 hours ago, pocster said:

Can I ask . Do we think Hmrc are more vigilant the larger the overall vat claim ? . Does some poor sod really look through every receipt ?? . I’m upto around 600 at the moment 😂

 

No idea.

 

We had about 300-350 invoices/receipts, I think. I suspect they take a quick glance at every invoice, but I can't imagine they have the time to check them all in detail. I wouldn't be surprised if they use some sort of sampling, whether per claim and/or across several claims. Maybe they check every 5th or 10th invoice/receipt in every case, and check every 5th or 10th claim in great detail, possibly based on a few flags?

 

I tried very hard to make ours look as professional and detail oriented as possible - in my head, I thought they might be less likely to challenge things if it was clear that effort had been made to be compliant.

 

6 hours ago, Bitpipe said:

Did you get a letter shortly after submission to say you qualified per the main form and subject to processing? That was the big relief for me as it meant all the dates etc were acceptable.

 

No, I believe all we had was a text or maybe an email confirming receipt. Nothing else before all documents were returned with a decision.

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On 24/02/2021 at 12:13, jack said:

 

No idea.

 

We had about 300-350 invoices/receipts, I think. I suspect they take a quick glance at every invoice, but I can't imagine they have the time to check them all in detail. I wouldn't be surprised if they use some sort of sampling, whether per claim and/or across several claims. Maybe they check every 5th or 10th invoice/receipt in every case, and check every 5th or 10th claim in great detail, possibly based on a few flags?

 

I tried very hard to make ours look as professional and detail oriented as possible - in my head, I thought they might be less likely to challenge things if it was clear that effort had been made to be compliant.

 

 

No, I believe all we had was a text or maybe an email confirming receipt. Nothing else before all documents were returned with a decision.


That’s interesting as I got a letter saying that my claim had passed the eligibility check and they would now move onto checking the invoices. That took week (20 weeks end to end in 2018). 
 

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